One of the things that many people do not know when they do relocation - even after a few years in the States - is that the long arm of the United States Treasury stretches overseas, reaching your assets and bank accounts in Israel. There is something important that you were not being told, not in line at the embassy, not in the immigration control at the entrance to the country, and not even at work: you probably have to file the FBAR.
What is FBAR?
The FBAR is not really a tax form. The full name of the form is the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, and its purpose is to report to the authorities - whether you are an American citizen or not - on any financial or real estate property outside of the United States each year, regardless of whether you earned it or not. The good news is that you can fill out the FBAR electronically.
Do I have to file an FBAR?
You must submit FBAR only if your assets outside the United States are higher, or have risen at some point this year, than $10,000. If that's the case, not only do you have to file but if you do not, you can get a $25,000 penalty, and sometimes even more.
What is the deadline?
Good news: You have until June 30th to submit the FBAR.
So how do you do that?
All in all, it's quite simple. Go to this link (bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/NoRegFBAR…) and if all your documents are ready, start the online form. The instructions on the screen are pretty clear, but you need to finish everything with a stroke so you may want to download a PDF of the form in advance, to understand exactly what you need.
Once you have finished, press Ready to File and look at your form and go up to the system. How simple that's how important.